What is Diverticulosis?

 In Other Conditions

Diverticula are small pouches that can form in the wall of the large intestine (colon). Diverticulosis is the presence of multiple diverticulum. These can be seen on the MRI image below.

Who is at risk for developing diverticulosis?

  1. Elderly
  2. People with diets low in fiber, high in fat and red meat
  3. Physically inactive
  4. Obesity
  5. Smoking

What are possible symptoms?

Most people with diverticulosis will not have symptoms. However, symptoms can occur if inflammation is present (i.e., diverticulitis).  Diverticulitis occurs when there is high pressure in the large intestines or if hardened stools become stuck in the diverticulum causing inflammation or infection.

Symptoms of diverticulitis may include: constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, painless bleeding from rectum, abdominal pain, fever, bloating, pain or frequent urination.

What are possible treatments?

There is no treatment for diverticulosis, the goal is to prevent inflammation (i.e., diverticulitis). If diverticulitis occurs treatment will vary based on the severity of the condition therefore it is important to seek medical guidance.

How to prevent Diverticulitis?

  1. Increase dietary fiber (vegetables and fruit) to ensure easy bowel movements
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Increase physical activity

Potential complications of Diverticulitis?

  1. Abscess
  2. Obstruction in colon
  3. Peritonitis
  4. Sepsis
  5. Fistula (abnormal passageway connecting 2 organs)

Where can I get more information?

For additional information, please seek further guidance from your primary care provider.

Sources

Pemberton, J. (2017). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of acute diverticulitis in adults. In J.T. Lamont & S.G. Grover, (Eds.), UptoDate, Available from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-acute-diverticulitis-in-adults?source=see_link

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